Brian Goh


About me

A conversation recently brought back memories. Memories which I thought I had forgotten but I guess that they were just buried somewhere deep inside me, waiting for the moment to reveal itself again. I never thought that the death of a friend would affect me this much but, somehow, this one incident proved otherwise. Perhaps it was because I was there. Perhaps it was because we shared many good times together or simply because it was that I felt that I was somewhat responsible that you aren’t around anymore.

I still remember the first time we met. It was at a volunteer event. I was never a social person and it was pretty much an awkward turtle event for me. But you changed everything. You were friendly and inclusive, it wasn’t a surprise that we got along pretty well, mostly, thanks to you. We had our ups and downs, I’m just glad there were more ups. We had our disagreements, but we sorted them out eventually. I guess we got along pretty well.

Everything changed when one day I received a call, that you needed help. A group of us got together to be there for you. When we got to where you were at, everything just felt so surreal. I remember seeing you, standing at the edge, wondering what would your next move be. I was the first to reach where you were but when my brain processed what my eyes were seeing, I froze for a moment. Maybe it was disbelief, that I was hoping what I saw wasn’t real. Or maybe a part of me hoped that everything was going to turn out fine. Maybe it was fear about not knowing what would happen next. But those few seconds, cost you everything. It felt as if time slowed down. I ran towards you. But it was too late. One moment you were there, the next, gone. As I ran, I saw you face. Etched on it were feelings of fear, sadness and maybe a slight tinge of happiness? I couldn’t be sure and I guess I never will be. I guess you felt freedom from all your life problems in that moment of time and I sincerely hoped that it was that feeling that you had on your mind when you disappeared before my very eyes. Words can’t describe how long those few seconds meant to me. It felt like they lasted forever. When you disappeared, all hope left me.

The next time I saw you, it was already over. You weren’t around anymore. All I saw was your body on the ground. I felt like an utter failure. I felt like I could have done more, every time I replayed the event over and over in my head, scenarios of what if I hadn’t frozen up went through my mind. You would still be around. I could have caught you, bundled you in my arms and told you everything was going to be alright. But that never happened. Those around tried comforting me, telling me that there was nothing else I could have done to prevent the inevitable but deep down, I felt responsible. So many other events could have happened and the outcome would have been a whole lot different. But it wasn’t. If only I had been that few seconds faster.

As soldiers, we were trained to expect the unexpected, to be able to function without hesitation. So much for that.

I hope that you finally found peace, where ever you are right now. And you will always be remembered by me.

5th June 2017.